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A group of more than 200 lawyers and activists from across China have called for the release of 19 lawyers, law-firm staff and human-rights activists in a signed letter addressed to the National People’s Congress.

The open letter to the country’s annual legislative session, which convenes in Beijing this week, said that the lawyers were unjustly charged with subversion for merely taking on “sensitive cases,” Radio Free Asia reports. The letter added, “none of those arrested or held under residential surveillance have been allowed visits from their relatives or their lawyers.”

The lawyers were swept up in part of an arbitrary dragnet that began last July with the detention of more than 100 lawyers and activists, in an ongoing state crackdown on public dissent.




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